Nick Fortes crushed an Adam Ottavino slider for a walk-off homer as the Marlins sent the Mets back to Queens with a 3-2 loss Sunday afternoon.
The Mets (47-27), who got a strong outing from David Peterson and a solo shot from Brandon Nimmo, couldn’t complete the three-game sweep in Miami. They now return to Citi Field to start a five-game homestand on Tuesday against the mighty Houston Astros (who split a four-game series in the Bronx) and the Texas Rangers.
Peterson did his job. The left-hander threw seven strong innings, allowing two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts. He didn’t walk a batter in his 104-pitch effort. He gave up an early run on a sac fly in the first inning and then gave up a solo home run to shortstop Miguel Rojas in the third inning.
Mets manager Buck Showalter raved about Peterson’s outing.
“The really good part [of the game] was how well Pete pitched,” Showalter told reporters. “He held his stuff and that was impressive to see him go that deep in the game, especially when we were real short in the bullpen. I was really happy for him. That’s a good step for him as a young pitcher.”
The Mets offense was held in check by Marlins lefty Daniel Castano. He also worked a career-best seven innings during the matinee which featured the early afternoon start time to accommodate the Peacock streaming broadcast.
“Their guy pitched well, we knew that with the good cutter-slider mix,” Showalter said. “I think early on we had a chance to get something on, not let him get his feet on the ground.”
Nimmo homered off Castano in the third inning to knot the game at 1-1, then Pete Alonso — who went 1-for-3 after his two-homer performance on Saturday afternoon — doubled to shallow right to send Starling Marte home for a 2-1 Mets lead.
After giving up the double to Alonso, Castano retired 14 of the last 15 Mets he faced.
The Mets went just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
After Rojas tied things up in the bottom of the frame, the NL East foes remained knotted up until Miami’s rookie catcher delivered the final blow.
Ottavino, who had allowed only one earned run over his last 19 relief appearances, got the first two Marlins (33-38) he faced out before Fortes stepped up and ended the game.
“It was inside, it wasn’t even a strike,” Ottavino said of his final pitch. “I tried to kind of slide-step there after the first slider and got ahead of my hand … I’ve done it before. Kind of knew what happened out of the hand and hope he didn’t swing, not the case.”
“Going up to bat I was looking for a sinker and he threw a really good slider first pitch that I did not see well,” Fortes said. “I figured that he’d throw it again so I was sitting on it and thankfully, he threw it there.”
Coming into the game, the former Yankees reliever had the second highest strikeouts per nine innings rate (11.4) on the Mets staff behind Edwin Diaz, and had produced a 2.60 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 27.2 innings. His ERA jumped to 2.86 after his six-pitch outing.
The Mets were aiming for their first three-game sweep of the Marlins in Miami since Aug. 17-19, 2020. The Amazin’s were anything but last season in Miami as they went just 3-7 there. So taking the first road series against the Fish is a positive step and they catch the flight home having already claimed a 17th series win on the season.
NEWS AND NOTES
Veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco (8-3, 4.42) is scheduled to start the opener of a two-game home series against Houston on Tuesday. Carrasco experienced lower back tightness in his previous outing against the Astros Wednesday and lasted 2 1/3 innings. … Jeff McNeil (right hamstring tightness) continues to improve but missed his fifth consecutive game.
– With News Wire Services